Since I wasn’t able to enjoy some of the natural spring baths they still offer to
visitors in Bath, I felt obligated to run myself a bath that morning in the hotel room.
I think I managed to equal the sense of majesty and opulence within the confines of
the tub. After all, the wall paper depicting steamy Roman baths plastered on the
back of the shower and the nearly $300/night hotel room surely met my
expectations of opulence. Only breakfast convinced me to get out of the tub and get
dressed for our tour through the Cotswolds.
I have a love-hate relationship with the countryside. Nature continues to
astound me everyday, and going hiking or talking a stroll are activities I do
regularly. No matter how many times my dad insists on calling me, “nature girl,”
because of that one time I expressed an affinity to pet a dog, I know that in reality
the city always draws me. In almost every tour so far, I can always recollect the
highlight of the tour being a city and the rest of the tour interspersed with sites in
the countryside. I assume this would be the time that I would normally say how the
countryside in England changed my mind, but I’m afraid even the vast fields colored
bright yellow by the blooming rapeseed couldn’t change my prejudices. It is
interesting to note that rapeseed is mainly harvested for oil, animal feed, and can
also be processed as biofuel.
The Cotswolds are a set of rolling hills in England that mainly lies within the
counties of Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire. Designated as an “Area of Outstanding
Natural Beauty” by the U.K. Government, the Cotswolds contains numerous villages
built from the natural Cotswold stone, a yellow limestone rich in fossils. Many
wealthy people own second homes and continue to make the area very prosperous.
As we drove out of Bath on our way to London we stopped by a couple of these
Our first stop was at the town of Tetbury. At the town’s center is the Market
House, a historical building built in 1655 and still in use today as a market. Even in
the early morning we could see people from the town casually strolling the busy
commerce streets surrounding the Market House.
While Tetbury was exactly what I expected from the English countryside, the
Rack Isle in Bibury was the first instance where I think I began to change my mind
about the countryside. Named after the wooden racks on which cloth was dried, the
Rack Isle is considered one of the most picturesque spots in the Cotswolds. I’m not
even kidding the place looked like it came out of a fairytale book. I honestly would
not have been surprised if Belle from Beauty and the Beast had come bursting out of
one of the cottages and started to sing and play with the swans on the river. Even as
I’m writing this I still can’t believe such a place actually exists.
After that experience, I even looked fondly at the passing fields of rapeseed
flowers. If there’s anything I can hardly pass up on, it’s ice cream. Enjoying a cone of
delicious strawberry and cream ice cream at the top of the hill in the town of Buford
was the ultimate turning point in my view of the countryside. Sure I may still be a
self-appointed “city girl,” but come on, how can I resist eating ice cream in a place
that looks like the fantasy world of my childhood bedtime stories?
Pictures can be viewed at Indonesia Media’s page on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10151896467958304.1073741891.126601523303&type=3